Single-Person Households Driving Meal-Time Snacking

NEW YORK — Smaller household sizes and eating alone are two growing factors impacting snacking in America, according to new research from The NPD Group.

The growth of single-person households in the United States — currently estimated at 38 million — is driving an increase in snacking behavior at meal time, the market researcher reported.

NPD's recent Snacking in America report cited that in 2014, annual eatings per capita of snack foods consumed at meal times among solo diners reached 191, compared to 167 in 2011.

“Food manufacturers and retailers should think about the unique needs of the solo consumer when developing products and packaging, and marketing messages should be crafted to be relevant to them and their snacking behaviors,” noted Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.

Single-person households — similar to their multi-member counterparts — place a high importance on nutrition, with health and weight management identified as a key motivation, particularly better-for-you snack foods.

Single-person households also plan the snack foods they will eat at meals ahead of time, typically more than a day before. A significantly smaller amount of eating occasions include a snack food that was planned less than an hour before.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to a variety of retail sectors.

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